In December 2010, the NMU High School Culinary/Hospitality Career-Technical Education program met in the Jacobetti Complex for a fun afternoon in the kitchen. Students from local area high schools made stained glass gingerbread ornaments, graham cracker houses, and gingerbread trees for Mrs. Phyllis Wong and her husband, Northern Michigan University President Les Wong, to use as holiday decorations inside the president's home.
Kelsie Hogan, a Marquette Area Public Schools student, made two gingerbread men tree toppers for the tree at Kaye house. The students received a thank-you note from Mrs. Phyllis Wong in late December, in which she praised the decorations as "stunning."
The students in the program were involved in several other events in 2010, including a gourmet dinner in Escanaba in October, where the students worked with Upper Peninsula chefs to raise money for the OSF Saint Francis medical center. The program also put together a luncheon for welding educators from Michigan and Canada earlier in the year, and organized a Christmas cookie bake sale during the holiday season. The students sold over 6,000 cookies to community members to raise money for the program.
“All of our activities have been great exercises in teamwork," stated Professor Christopher Kibit, C.C.E, one of the instructors for the program, who also said that the program has taught everyone involved about “the need for planning and organization, as well as attention to detail." They learned all this, of course, "in a fun and tasty way.”
Starting in NMU's 2011 winter semester, the students will work with Dining Services at the University Center facilities. This will afford them the opportunity to learn about food preparation and service in the Wildcat Den, as well as during banquets and other special events.